The conductor’s role is not limited to creating agreements among the musicians, but also with the audience and with its environment. The word “symphony”, with which all musicians are familiar, has a practical meaning in everyday Greek usage today. The prefix “sym” stands for “what is done together”, “at the same time”, while “phoné” refers to “the capacity of speech, the human voice and sound”. Nowadays, in Greece it is not unusual to hear in a common conversation:
-Simfonís? [Do you agree?]
“Symphonia” points to the quality of sound consensus, simultaneously inhabiting “the same voice”. Symphonic music implies the general agreement of the performers. Likewise, it is astonishing to note that this pact reaches, surrounds, and involves the audience. At this level of communication there is no room for ideas, no room for defending opinions, no room for divergent points of view. It is, as the word itself says, an “agreement” under the shelter of an artistic pact.
Since September 2017, the Sinaloa Symphony Orchestra for the Arts (OSSLA), in which I have had the opportunity to collaborate as chief conductor since then, has performed 89 symphonic concerts and 94 chamber music concerts. Claudio Abbado, the great Italian conductor, recalled in an interview that a performer accustomed to chamber music is a musician who knows how to listen, and that the best orchestras are made up of this type of artists. I would dare to affirm that the OSSLA is one of the symphony orchestras that most regularly performs chamber music, a genre that involves solos, duos, trios, quartets and other more or less small ensembles, originally performed in a “chamber” or in a space the size of a room. In the last year alone, within the context of the pandemic, the members of the OSSLA have performed one chamber concert per week in the cycle “Virtuosos y Virtuales”, which makes a total of 50 concerts. The practice of this type of repertoire has its background in the “Café Concierto” cycle, which dates back to the origin of the group itself, and which has been held since then in the first quarter of each year. Before migrating to a “distance” format, 44 in-person chamber concerts were held in the last four years in 16 venues in Culiacán: the Pablo de Villavicencio Theater, the Agora of the Sinaloa Institute of Culture (ISIC), the Museum of Art of Sinaloa (MASIN), the Auditorium of the Autonomous University of the West (UAdeO), the Auditoriums in the Academic Tower, the House of Culture of the Autonomous University of Sinaloa (UAS), the Deutsche Bank Auditorium, the esplanade of the Botanical Garden, the Gilberto Owen Library, the MIA Theater, the Parishes of “Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe” (La Lomita), “Espíritu Santo”, “Santa Inés”, “Cristo Rey”, and the Tres Ríos and Las Riberas Aquatic Parks.
Next Thursday, October 21st, the OSSLA will begin the celebration of its first 20 years with a program entitled “New Music for Modern Times”, which also coincides with the celebration of my two decades as orchestra conductor, a journey that has given me the opportunity to be a link of agreements between composers, performers and audiences. With this new presentation, the orchestra will reach its 90th symphonic concert this year, for which we have prepared a program that includes two world premieres. These are “Serindipia”, a viola concerto by Andrea Chamizo (Mexico, 1988), with Felisa Hernández as soloist, and “Coltzin”, a work by Juanra Urrusti (Mexico, 1985). The program will open with Reinhold Glière’s “Concerto for Soprano Coloratura”, in the voice of soprano Penélope Luna. We will also pay tribute to the beginnings of the OSSLA by closing with Eduardo Gamboa’s “Jarabe”, the first work performed by the orchestra in its official debut on October 25th, 2001, in those days when Juan S. Millán, Ronaldo González, Gerardo Ascencio, Gordon Campbell founded the ensemble with an initial staff of about 30 musicians. Today, the OSSLA is home to musicians of excellence from 16 countries, who through performance and teaching continuously contribute to one of the noblest aspects of Sinaloa’s and Mexico’s cultural work.
Although the now popular saying ” Twenty years is nothing” has a concrete meaning in the tango genre, the first “twenty years” of the OSSLA mean, rather, “the beginning” of a future full of expectations.